Running Fire: A Race for Liberty

Shortly after 1 o’clock this morning John Riedmiller’s valuable pacing horse, with a mark of 2:20, was standing, hitched to a post at the corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets. Officer Bower saw the animal there and had been watching it for some time. A few minutes after 1 o’clock the policeman saw a negro step into the buggy quietly and drive away without any evidence of being in a hurry or any movement to conceal his identity. The officer watched the colored man drive the horse east on Wayne street.

Image from WHDH 7News

The carriage was about a block east of Calhoun street, when in an excited manner Mr. Reidmiller made inquiries concerning his horse.

Officer Bower informed him that a colored man whom he supposed was a stable boy taking care of the animal, had driven it east. After a hasty exchange of explanations in regard to the disappearance of the horse, both men concluded that the animal had been stolen.

The patrol wagon was called out in a few minutes and sent east over the East Wayne street pavement at a wild run, manned by Capt. Borgman, Sergt. Dasler and Officer Gallmeier.

The officers flew down the thoroughfare with the horses at breakneck speed. Near the Concordia college they met a farmer driving into the city. He have the officers a clew and the panting patrol steeds were turned south on Walton avenue. Through the drizzling rain, with mud flying in all direction, the steeds galloped in a maddened run.

Fresh tracks were noticed on the Wayne ?ace going east, and the officers turned in that direction. In the darkness a few hundred feet away they saw the outlines of a carriage. The speed of the patrol wagon never faltered, and the policemen yelled “halt.”

The vehicle in front forged ahead with unchecked speed. Several shots were fired into the air to frighten the driver of the horse in front of the patrol wagon. The running fire had no effect. After a hot chase for a quarter of a mile, with neither the police nor the fleeing horse-thief gaining or losing any ground, there was a sudden halt.

The carriage in front of the patrol wagon stopped and almost instantly the patrol wagon wheeled up beside the foaming horse.

The drive had escaped, and only a few seconds before, as the lines were warm where he had held them in his grasp.

The ditch, culvert and fences in the vicinity were searched in vain. Not a trace of the horse-thief could be found. He successfully eluded the officers and escaped. The horse and carriage were brought back to the city.

This is the wildest ride the Fort Wayne officers have experienced since the patrol wagon has been in the police service.

The thief’s daring was bold in the extreme, and his escape was miraculous.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 5, 1894

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